State legislation

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Long-range financial outlook may become reality for Ohio

Dec 08, 2011

Ohio may soon implement a longer range, proactive planning process to aid government and businesses alike with financial planning.

Rep. Kristina Daley Roegner, R- Cuyahoga Falls, and Rep. Christina Hagan, R-Alliance, jointly provided sponsor testimony this week on H.B. 368, which creates a long-range financial outlook process that OSCPA recommended in its Ohio Budget Advisory Task Force Report last session.

Ohio biennial budget encourages looking only two years out. H.B. 368 proposes a four year financial outlook for Ohio, which would be a fact based, non-partisan forecasting tool for legislators. This tool would project fiscal trends and be based on current law, demographics, debt, Medicaid loads, expected trends and other factors including economic, socio-economic, environmental and more.

The legislation accomplishes this by establishing a Long-Range Strategic Planning Council to prepare annual long-range financial outlook reports for the State of Ohio. The bi-partisan council of 15-21 Ohio experts in accounting, banking, economics and financial planning would issue its report every year by Sept. 1.

The legislation is modeled after a successful program put into place in Florida. It evaluates a wide range of factors that impact the state budget, including demographic shifts, the economy, major programs, constitutional changes and existing laws, to name a few factors.

“Having a long range financial outlook just makes common sense,” Roegner said. “Most successful businesses forecast out several years, this helps them to make decisions today to optimize their future.  States are no different."

OSCPA will provide proponent testimony in the near future.